New Zealand’s only 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline is in danger of being shut down if the Government does not step in to save the service, the Green Party said today (14 December).
“Auckland’s 24/7 Sexual Abuse HELP line has until Friday to secure funding for this essential service,” Green Party Women’s Affairs spokesperson Jan Logie said.
ACC cut funding to Auckland Sexual Abuse HELP in 2009. It has since been funded by the Ministry of Health, the local DHB, the Police, and the Ministry of Social Development.
“After two years the Government has not found a solution and time is running out for the service,” Ms Logie said.
“It seems that there has been a conscious decision to underfund this helpline service and other sexual abuse counselling services.
“Due to the National Government creating an ACC funding crisis, money spent on delivering counselling treatment to those who need it the most has halved while sexual abuse reporting has increased in Auckland.
“In the 2006/07 year ACC was spending over $10 million on counselling services that has dropped to under $5 million in 2010/11 while incidences of sexual violence have not declined.”
Ms Logie said that sexual abuse helplines were an essential service because sexual violence was a big problem in New Zealand.
“Sexual assaults are one of the most under reported and violent crimes and counselling services are essential for recovery,” Ms Logie said.
“Early intervention by a specialist counsellor can reduce mental health impacts, improve well-being and assist people to reclaim their roles in their families and communities.”